Dave Meltzer Analyzes AEW's Ratings Decline

Three years ago, AEW's ratings were sky-high. By September 2021, "AEW Dynamite" had officially demolished "WWE NXT," sending WWE's third/developmental brand scurrying back to Tuesday nights and the ignominy of being rebranded as "NXT 2.0." "Dynamite's" overall viewership numbers were surging to the point that they weren't that far below those of "WWE Raw," on overall viewership and "Dynamite" had actually started beating "Raw" in the key 18-49 demographic. In 2024, the situation is very different, and Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter thinks he knows why.


According to Meltzer, the biggest part of AEW's decline has been the drop in viewership in the 18-34 age range, as it's a patterned group that will follow trends and fads, which in wrestling often leads to wrestlers, shows, and entire companies gaining momentum. In 2020, Chris Jericho was using AEW's success in this specific demographic to take gloating shots at the competition, going so far as to call himself "The Demo-God" — Meltzer also touted AEW's 18-34 ratings at the time, claiming that AEW would have been beating WWE in that metric if not for the competition from "NXT." Now, Meltzer says the numbers tell a different story: AEW's ratings in the 18-34 demographic have collapsed, while WWE's are now strong.


"It's a group hard to reach for television but very valuable," Meltzer wrote, "and with AEW in contract season, what they had that was very valuable is what they've lost in the last two months."

Meltzer also dove deeper into the ratings from the May 1 block of programming, as there was a steep drop between the end of "AEW Dynamite" and the start of "AEW Rampage." Meltzer believes the "Rampage" brand has a negative aura around it, as some fans (particularly men) have come to see the show as skippable.